Evaluation of Dynamic Message Sign Deployments and their Effects on Older Drivers

This research focuses on the evaluation of the effectiveness of Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) in providing real time traveler information on delays ahead. Such signs will sometimes provide information to the traveler on the actual delay time and alternative route (“ONE LANE CLOSURE/EXPECT 30 MINUTE DELAY/USE ROUTE 66”); and sometimes they will provide information only that a delay exists (“DELAYS AHEAD/ONE LANE CLOSURE”). Central to this research will be an evaluation of the effects of such dynamic systems on elderly drivers. For comparison purposes the research will also examine the effects of these systems on other drivers. An underlying aim of the research is to be able to predict the fraction of drivers that will divert to an alternative route so that transportation engineers can improve the efficiency of the roadway system. The major findings in the driving simulator based analyses are as follows: (1) Effect of Delay Time versus No Delay Time. Drivers of all ages are much more likely to divert when provided with information on the time of a delay than when provided with no such information. (2) Effect of Longer Delay Times. The fraction of drivers diverting increased with increases in the length of the delay presented on the DMS. (3) Effect of Familiarity. There was no significant effect of familiarity on the diversion frequency. (4) Effect of Pretrip (511 Information). In all cases but one, the effect of providing information about the delays before the trip began made the drivers as a group more likely to choose the route that minimized the travel time. (5) Effect of Age. Over all it was observed that the percentage of older drivers diverting (74%) is greater than younger drivers (67%) when delay times are provided. This diversion difference is even larger (older drivers 27% vs. 9%) when delay time information is not provided. (6) Effect of Age and Pretrip Information. Perhaps the most dramatic effect of pretrip information is observed when the travel time delay is 30 minutes. In this case the main route is 60 mins (virtual) and the alternative route is 90 mins (virtual). Drivers should be indifferent between the main and alternative routes in this situation. However, when no pretrip information is provided, younger drivers are much less likely to divert than would be predicted (30%) and older drivers are much more likely to divert than would be predicted (80%). When pretrip information is provided, both older and younger drivers now divert equally often (both divert 50% of the time).

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    130 Natural Resources Road
    Amherst, MA  United States  01003

    New England University Transportation Center

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 40-279
    Cambridge, MA  United States  01239
  • Authors:
    • Collura, John
    • Fisher, Donald
  • Publication Date: 2009-11-30


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 3p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152825
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMAR19-12
  • Files: UTC, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2010 10:45AM